Very efficient method to treat traumas. Personally, I like using it when people come and see me to treat one or two well-defined traumas.

The explanation below comes from the training institute BIPE.be and was slightly adapted and translated from french :

EMDR, for “Eyes Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing”, is an innovative method used by an increasing number of psychotherapists in the treatment of psychological trauma.

In 1987, Francine Shapiro noticed that when she thought about events loaded with negative emotions and simultaneously performed horizontal eyes movements, emotions decreased and sometimes even totally disappeared. Originally, the author hypothesised that it was a type of desensitisation, that’s why she called the method EMD or Eye Movement Desensitisation. Her first research with trauma victims showed that the positive effects lasted in time.

Progressively, Shapiro improved her method and called it EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). For Shapiro, it was no longer merely a desensitisation since, after eye movements, the patients spontaneously formulated more positive thoughts. As a consequence, this method permitted not only to absorb the traumatic memories, but also to close them.

On the basis of current knowledge, it seems that traumatic events are stored as such in the memory, with the associated images, sounds, thoughts, body sensations and emotional tones. It looks like EMDR helps the organism digest these mnemonic traces. The revival of the event stops and its negative emotional charge disappears. The past becomes a memory and enters the personal biography like any other event. Since 1987, therapeutic effects of EMDR have been demonstrated by a range of controlled studies. However, until now, there has been no research done in finding out and explaining how it exactly functions. The next decade will probably enlighten us about the mechanisms which occur during EMDR.

Nowadays the name “EMDR” no longer provides an exact description of the method, because eye movements are not the only ones found to be efficient. Sound or tactile stimuli presented bilaterally (alternating left/right) have proven their efficiency as well.

More informations can be found on : EMDR Europe.